Business updates: Tex-Mex Winter Produce - The Packer

Business updates: Tex-Mex Winter Produce

11/18/2011 02:30:00 PM
Pamela Riemenschneider

Abasto Corp. moves ahead in San Antonio
Carlos Zambito, general manager of the McAllen Produce Terminal Market, said parent company Abasto Corp. has submitted the plans for a new produce market in San Antonio.
“We’re moving forward, and just waiting for the plans to be approved,” Zambito said.
Zambito said Abasto also is working with Houston-based ScanTech Sciences Inc., to bring a produce irradiation facility to the Rio Grande Valley.
“The partnership already has been formed,” Zambito said. “They’re working on the building plans so it should be relatively soon.”
Bebo Distributing adds washing system
Pharr, Texas-based Bebo Distributing upgraded its packing line to include chlorine washing.
Jimmy Garza, director of operations, said the new line was added at the end of the summer.
The company also is adding an ozone misting system to disinfect produce.
“With all of the food safety concerns that are coming up, we thought this would be a good addition,” he said.
The company also plans to break ground on a 30,000-square-foot expansion. 
Right now, Garza said, Bebo plans to use it for its existing business, but hasn’t ruled out working with other shippers for in-and-out services.
The company also expanded its shade house eggplant program, converting 20 existing acres of tomatoes and bell peppers to eggplants. 
Garza said the market for eggplants has been high over the past few seasons.
“It’s coming back down a bit, but it’s still traditionally high,” he said.
Bland Distribution expands cold storage
In anticipation of greater demand for cold storage, Bland Distribution Services, a division of Glennville, Ga.-based Bland Farms, doubled its cold storage capacity.
Nick Sanchez, general manager for the facility, said the building is about 100,000 square feet, 75,000 of which is refrigerated.
“We have 3,100 pallet positions in 8 separate temperatures,” he said.
The company also has office space available, and room to expand in the future.
Frontera implements item-level traceability
Edinburg, Texas-based Frontera Produce Ltd. is working with HarvestMark for its Veracruz pineapple program. 
Each pineapple is tagged with a HarvestMark code that gives information about Frontera Produce and its growing operation.
“The end user will be able to scan the QR code on our pineapple tag and get field pictures and handling tips and recipe ideas,” said Chris Eddy, general manager. 
“There’s a whole host of information that the consumer will find useful.”
Frontera Produce has been working with Irving, Texas-based DMA Solutions on consumer marketing and social media efforts featuring Frontera employees and their operations. 
Eddy said the marketing has been a good driver to the company’s website.
South Tex Organics introduces label
Mission, Texas-based South Tex Organic LC has a new label, and a new display-ready carton and bags for its organic rio star grapefruit and oranges.
The label, “Nature’s Pick,” is eye-catching, said Garrett Edwards, sales and office manager, and the new cartons should help reduce labor costs and cardboard waste.
The company also added new machinery to its packing facility that shows a three-dimensional image of each piece of fruit, allowing sorting by grade, size and weight.
Texas receives grant for food safety audits
Participating farms can receive a discount of up to $750 on audits of Good Agriculture Practices. 
The funds were secured through a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture.
For more information contact the Texas Produce Association, Mission.

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